Friday, February 10, 2012

A Birth Story

37 week checkup - 1 cm dilated.

38 week checkup - 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced.

39 week checkup - 3 cm dilated, OB did membrane sweep. Five days of irregular contractions followed.

40 week checkup - 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced. That evening (February 9), contractions seemed to get regular and frequent enough, so we went to the hospital for a check. Not in active labor yet, so we were sent home.

8:00 a.m. February 10 - I spent most of the night drifting in and out of sleep because of contractions and periodically using the toilet. At some point in the night, I started using the deep breathing techniques I'd read about in a book on hypnobirthing as contractions started, and the contractions seemed to (but didn't really) take less time and were less painful. I think the cervix is probably dilating, due to increased mucus ("bloody show"). Also, my bowels seem to be cleaning themselves out this morning (no diahrrhea, though, thankfully). Asked husband to stay home from work because I'm periodically incapacitated; contractions are currently about 7 minutes apart.

10 a.m. February 10 - Still contracting. I took a shower and ate some breakfast. Also drank plenty of water. Currently contractions are a little over 6 minutes apart. They are not enjoyable, but I'll get through.

2 p.m. February 10 - So glad husband took off from work today. He took the children out for lunch over two hours ago, and I woke up not too long ago from a wonderful nap. Contractions have mostly stopped for now, but over the last 8 hours, I think (or hope) the mucus plug came out.

10:40 p.m. February 10 - For most of the past 8-9 days, I have had intermittent contractions that haven't turned into active labor. Last night, they were quite painful and interrupted much of my sleep. Being an invalid in my own home today plus the cumulative effect of the contraction pain brought me to tears for a while this evening. The emotional release helped me feel better.

2:11 a.m. February 11 - Painful contractions every 9 minutes, waking me up and requiring me to visit the toilet. Lots of bloody show.

3:00 a.m. February 11 - Sitting on toilet turned into transition. I shakily struggled to the bedroom to wake my husband with the announcement that I was in transition and we needed to get to the hospital very quickly. We called our next door neighbor, who was over in less than five minutes. We made it to the hospital birth center by 3:20 a.m. The hospital valet service was greatly appreciated.

3:25 a.m. February 11 - Triage nurse checked me and said I was dilated to an 8 or 9 and completely effaced. They found me a room quickly.

3:50 a.m. February 11 - Upon my request, doctor broke bulging amniotic sac during internal exam.

4:04 a.m. February 11 - Baby girl born! It took around ten big pushes, mostly in side-laying position. She weighed in at 9 lbs, 2 ozs. She needed some assistance with oxygenation and blood sugar issues. I had a second degree tear and lost a lot of blood from the uterus. I received methergine, a shot of pitocin, Cytotec, and aggressive uterine massage. It didn't help that it took three tries to get an IV line in me for intravenous pitocin. Between baby girl and my issues, we're spending most of the first post-birth hours apart, but I'm OK with that. We're both getting the care we need for unavoidable problems. Did I mention how cute and pink Baby Girl is? :)

4:02 p.m. February 12 - We just arrived home from the hospital. We are both doing well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Smart phones overhyped when it comes to their actual use in academic settings

I just observed a very interesting presentation at a liberal arts college near my home. The College Republicans club (all six of its members) had invited Bay Buchanan to come speak, and she spoke about some of the ways in which second wave feminism has failed women. She gave credit to second wave feminism for opening many doors in education and careers to women, but she said that it had hurt women by encouraging them to be "the same as men" as far as reproductive behavior, specifically via noncommittal sexual "hookups" and abortion.

(Buchanan is firmly pro-life. Her positions on the issue were a combination new to me. While she favors a complete ban on abortion--no exceptions for rape, incest, etc.--and punishment of those doctors who do abortions, she said that she is against any legal penalty for women who have abortions because the women are already second victims of abortion in that they will one day wake up and realize that they killed their own children and will suffer the rest of their lives with the knowledge of that irreparable mistake.)

Many students lined up at the microphone to ask questions, mostly unsurprisingly antagonistic towards Buchanan's ideas. The event went overtime, and there were still over 40 college students in the room with a few still waiting for their turn at the microphone. When the issue turned to abortion again, Buchanan mentioned the existence of organizations that help provide pregnant women in poverty with financial support and living accommodations to enable them to carry a child to term and give it up for adoption, rather than aborting it. A student behind me called out that those organizations must just be for white people and that she had never heard of such help available for black girls from south Chicago. Buchanan talked about her own experience helping out an unwed mother in the Washington, DC area by having her live with her for six months and repeatedly affirmed the existence of nationwide networks to assist unwed mothers who wanted to give their babies up for adoption; the student repeatedly yelled that she'd never heard of such an organization in Chicago, so there couldn't be one. Their argument went on for far too long.

You know how we are always hearing that today's youth are so digitally connected? That they can find information so quickly using their iPhones and the internet? That the way they process knowledge is so different because of the technology available to them? Well, out of all the students in that room, no one pulled out a phone to see whether there was indeed an organization in Chicago that assists unwed mothers financially in order to allow them to choose adoption over abortion. I did see one male student looking at pictures on his phone, but otherwise cellphones were out of sight and the students in the room generally seemed incapable of doing anything about this lengthy--though easily resolvable--disagreement despite the late hour and repeated yelling by an apparently agitated student.

How hard would it have been for a student in the audience to do an internet search on "adoption help chicago" or something similar? The campus has wireless internet access for the students. When I got home (no smart phone for me, due to budget reasons), I did three Google searches and found The Adoption Center of Illinois at Family Resource Center in less than four minutes; it appears to be exactly the kind of organization about the existence of which Buchanan and the student were fighting. Did no one in that whole room besides me think to do a Google search to answer the question so the discussion could move on? (I assume from the college's demographics that most students had smart phones or internet capable devices of some kind. It's not a cheap school.) I fear new technology is being wasted on college students, at least with respect to knowledge acquisition and analysis, for they do not seem to realize when and how to use the technology at their fingertips to search out relevant facts.

The next time I read about how today's students are so smart because of the technology they have available to them, I'm probably going to make a very impolite noise.